In a recent study conducted by Rice University and released on May 5, 2011, it was found that 20% of atheist scientists are spiritual. They also found that scientists tend to see spirituality as different than religion and not necessarily at odds with science.
“Our results show that scientists hold religion and spirituality as being qualitatively different kinds of constructs,” said Elaine Howard Ecklund, assistant professor of sociology at Rice and lead author of the study. “These spiritual atheist scientists are seeking a core sense of truth through spirituality — one that is generated by and consistent with the work they do as scientists.”
For example, these scientists see both science and spirituality as “meaning-making without faith” and as an individual quest for meaning that can never be final. According to the research, they find spirituality congruent with science and separate from religion, because of that quest; where spirituality is open to a scientific journey, religion requires buying into an absolute “absence of empirical evidence.”
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Photo courtesy of Mindscape.